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A Year to Confirm Ex-Husband Got Former Wife's Tax Information

Through an access to information request to the Canada Revenue Agency, a woman learned that her tax information had been accessed by a Canada Revenue Agency employee who is the common-law spouse of her ex-husband. The ex-husband then used that information to seek an amendment to a child support arrangement.

The woman lodged a Privacy Act complaint with the Canada Revenue Agency. An investigation by the Agency confirmed the complainant's tax information had been inappropriately accessed by an employee, who passed the information along to the ex-husband.

The Canada Revenue Agency investigation took 13 months. A letter informing the complainant of the results of the internal investigation was drafted, but never sent. The lengthy delay prompted the woman to make a complaint to our Office.

Our investigation concluded that the Canada Revenue Agency has a rigorous and comprehensive discipline policy to address employee misconduct. But for such policies to be effective, allegations of employee misconduct must be addressed more quickly and efficiently.

We also highlighted the need for enhanced privacy training and to ensure that employees with access to personal tax information are fully informed of their obligations in terms of protecting the privacy of Canadian taxpayers.

We upheld the complaint as well founded. Our recommendation was accepted and implemented.

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